How To: Setup AT&T Free Wi-Fi on Your iPhone

So, I am sitting at my local Starbucks and decided to give the new AT&T free Wi-Fi a spin on my iPhone 3G. The process was painless. After turning on Wi-Fi, you are presented with a screen to enter you phone number. Afterwards, it tells you that you are receiving a link via text (for free) with a link to access AT&T's free Wi-Fi.

I have to admit, at first I was thinking that this seems a little complicated and a lot of steps to just connect via Wi-Fi... but wait, it is all-goooooood.

So, I get my text message and it tells me that I now have access and that it is renewable every 24 hours. Cool. Now, why is this exciting and post-worthy? Well, If you have tried to connect to an AT&T Wi-Fi access point before, say, via Starbucks, you connect, but as soon as your iPhone goes into sleep mode, you loose the Wi-Fi connection and you have to reconfigure it all over again!

With this process, this does not happen! I can only assume it adds your MAC address to AT&T's service. So everytime your iPhone goes into sleep mode, you don't have to worry about turning it back on! It automatically connects (well, for 24 hours anyway). How great is that! I say kudos to AT&T in taking the extra time to ensure that the free Wi-Fi experience on your iPhone is flawless. Good job.

Check out the gallery below!


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Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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Reader comments

How To: Setup AT&T Free Wi-Fi on Your iPhone


I tried it over the weekend, too, while I was in line at Starbucks. Easy as described.

glad to hear it, i wonder if att can strike a deal with vodafone or orange so i can use this in airports and such in europe

My roommate tried this last night and his text message never arrived. Neither did his second attempt. I didn't bother trying as we were only there for a moment. I have actually been having a LOT of problems with missing text messages lately, so they either need to fix that or figure out a way to do this that doesn't involve sending messages.

I vistied a Starbucks yesterday and tried it. I got the flash screen and logged in my phone number and waited. Nothing! Then I tried again. Nothing! I finally got the txt messages about an hour later. I was long gone by then. Why can't my username and password be the same as my AT&T account on the web? I just log in and no waiting for txt messages.

Not me, I'm here near the University of Denver. Upon trying to sign on I did not get the screen asking a phone number. I got the normal scree one would get when logging on. I called AT&T to ask about the username and password and was told that I need to ask the employees at Starbucks. The Barista did not have one so I gave up:(

I tried it this weekend as well and got a message that the service wasn't working and to try again later. I got the right screen because it asked for my phone number. I tried it a couple of time to make sure I was enter the information correctly but to no avail. Maybe not all Starbucks are up to date or something. I'll try again some other time.

I had a problem connecting, too. After entering my phone number, I got a screen saying "unable to complete your connection. Please try again later." This happened to me at 3 different Statbucks on several different days. So I called AT&T Internet services ( not wireless) and they fixed it for me. It now works with no problem. 888-888-7520

Doesn't AT&T know the MAC address of my phone? Don't they know that phone belongs to an active subscriber? Why do we need to do anything? Honestly 3G is fast enough to me for most browsing, this sounds like logging in will take more time than I would gain from the speed of wifi.

What if you have SMS turned off on your AT&T plan? I hate texting, and I wasn't going to pay extra for a service I don't use. I had AT&T turn off texting completely on my account so I wouldn't have to pay $.20 for every unsolicited text message sent to me. Does this mean I have no way of getting to use the Wifi at Fivebucks?

worked for me except I would have to reclick on the link in the text after my phone woke up from sleeping for longer than a few minutes. Wonder if AT&T discriminates between 3G phones and the originals

it work the first time for me, but the second time i couldn't connect. I was in hurry and didn't have time to call att support guess next time I would find out.

I had a similar problem called AT&T 888-888-7520 and they say the sim card number is not correctly registered, so they updated it on their system and now I get access to the free wifi at att hotspots on my iphone 3g

I'm confused about the use of the term wifi: if its wifi, like the wifi in every coffee shop in the northern hemisphere, and my phone can read those wifi signals and theoretically connect to it like my lap top can, why must i use the AT&T hot spots like starbucks, why cant i connect to my own wifi signal at home?